Samuel Langweiler took inspiration for his musical marble runs from a marble run with three sound plates (chimes) that he had seen in Geneva, Switzerland. Shortly after the birth of his third child in 1969 he started working on his idea of a musical marble run that would allow a marble to create a melody by striking chimes while running down the tracks. Samuel wanted the marble run to be interactive and the chimes to be interchangeable so children could not only build marble runs but also create different tunes by changing the order of the chimes and the lengths of the tracks in between. During the design process Samuel encountered quite a few problems but after many experiments he came up with his first melody and construction game. Due to his busy job as a cellist for the Tonhalle Orchester Zürich and being on tour for long periods at a time, Samuel did not have time to search for a manufacturer for his marble run. It was only years later that the Weizenkorn Foundation started manufacturing and distributing Samuel’s invention under the name Xyloba Musical Marble Runs.
Xyloba Musical Marble Runs is a creative wooden toy which develops fine motor skills, spatial imagination and facilitates a creative approach to music. As the marble rolls down the track it hits each chime in succession. The interlocking system of ramps and sound blocks, which house the chimes, lets children create a large variety of set ups. Xyloba Musical Marble Runs allow children to compose their own tunes by experimenting with the different chimes and the distance - the lengths of the ramps - between the chimes to create a rhythm.
The Weizenkorn Foundation, based in Basel, Switzerland, is a social business which supports and employs over 200 young men and women with psychological impairments who are unable to find work. In the sheltered workshops of the Weizenkorn Foundation these young men and women create the different components of the Xyloba Musical Marble Runs as well as many other beautiful and high quality wooden toys.
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